I used to think it was great that when applying for jobs, I would not only be assessed on my marks, but also on my extracurricular activities. After all, there is more to people than their jobs or the degree programmes they once picked. For instance, prospective employers like it when you are an elite athlete as well as a student, or if you play a musical instrument.
A stupid joke
Therefore, when I went in for my most recent job interview at a law firm, I was keen not to present myself merely as Moo, a third-year law student, but rather as a versatile person, shaped by the various activities to which I had devoted certain stages of my life. But before I’d actually had a chance to say hello to all three of the guys by whom I was getting interviewed, one burst into laughter. “Well, I don’t think the men in this office will be able to focus on their work if we hire you.” Granted, it was a stupid joke, but it did the job of breaking the ice.
I sat down and the men took their first look at my CV. “So it says here that you do some modelling too,” said the guy who had made the joke. He shot a look at the other men. “But models aren’t made to work, are they?” The other man laughed hard. “Why work if you can just be pretty and earn money while doing nothing?” The conversation continued in that vein for a while.
What I’d been intending to say was as follows. Hello, I’m Moo, the girl who used to work from 7am to 7pm to shoot TV shows while others were on holiday. The girl who moved to Asia on her own for work at age 18. The girl who spent several hours a day at the gym, learned scripts by heart, went from casting to casting only to be kept waiting for hours on end, skipped nights in order to work and somehow managed to look fresh as a daisy at her fittings the next day. The girl who then decided to get her law degree in three years.
But none of this mattered. My credibility had been reduced to the level of Legally Blonde, and I’d been reduced to their perception of my extracurricular activity. As for my marks, the guys didn’t even bother to look at them.